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Queen Introduction

Using a Nucleus

Introduction using a nucleus colony

Make up a nucleus colony with three frames, one each of emerging brood, pollen and open stores, all with the bees attached. Make sure a queen is not on any of these frames. Shake in some extra nurse bees from combs of open brood.

Leave for a couple of hours before placing the introduction cage in position. Take the introduction cage either indoors or into a car with all windows closed. Remove the attendant bees. If the queen does leave the cage, replace her after shaking all the bees from the cage. Some beekeepers prefer to add a few nurse bees that have just emerged from the frames of the nucleus to the cage. Remove any cover from the candy entrance so that the bees gain access to the queen quickly. Now place the introduction cage between two of the central combs in the nucleus colony, ensuring the open entrance with the candy is uppermost. If it is placed downwards it could get blocked by dead workers. Leave undisturbed for 7 days.

Uniting a nucleus to a full colony

Go to the hive that is to be re-queened while the bees are flying; find the queen and remove the frame she is on and two other frames--in fact, take away a three-frame nucleus.

Have your new queen on the centre comb of a three-frame nucleus and put the nucleus into the hive in place of the one removed.

In this way the new queen starts her new life surrounded by her own progeny and does not come into immediate contact with strange bees; she just carries on as though nothing had happened.

Note that this is done when the bees are flying, so that most of the bees in the brood chamber and in the nucleus are young bees, and such bees can be united without any fuss as they seldom fight.

Alternatively, the new nucleus can be united by the newspaper method.

I believe the above was written by Albert Knight as part of the instructions given with queens that were produced by the East Midlands Bee Breeding Group. I have slightly edited it to make it clearer.   R.P.